I hate to have the kneejerk fan reaction, but...the reason the Galaxy did not win this year had comparatively little to do with David Beckham and a big fat lot to do with defensive incompetence, Greg.
That aside. Let's put this in perspective.
In the 1990's, the Galaxy were a tertiary tenant in the Rose Bowl, after UCLA football and a flea market. They practiced in the grass Rose Bowl parking area, which after Bruin or Galaxy games was strewn with debris. Broken bottles, and such. The 1996 marketing campaign was centered on the famously ambivalent Jorge Campos, who didn't even quit his day job for Pumas. The class divide between the Galaxy's haves (Campos, Cobi Jones) and have-nots (the other twenty guys) was breathtaking to behold. Campos' replacement, Kevin Hartman, would complain later about not having adequate health insurance. I don't still have my tax returns from 1996 and 1997, but I'm fairly sure I made more money than Vanney in those years, and I was a temp. Vanney himself felt so connected with the Galaxy that he fled to Corsica at the first opportunity. By the time he returned to MLS, the material facilities of the Galaxy had improved in every conceivable sense.
And yet, he's now nostalgic for those days? Something's gone horribly wrong in Carson.
My gut reaction is to say, well, you can't spell Vanney without "envy."* My other gut reaction is to assume that Anschutz Entertainment Group has become so squirrelly about its Beckham investment that it has become a complete grind, even by the standards of an ownership that brought in Luis Hernandez because the Carlos Hermosillo deal didn't backfire quite enough. My third gut reaction (I'm fat) is that however nice and down-to-earth a guy Dave is, Team Beckham is about as fun to deal with as a cold catheter.
The truth is, regrettably, somewhere in the middle. I never, ever thought I'd say "I hope Bruce Arena is enough of a control freak to get a handle on this."
While I'm still yammering about things Galaxy-related, I'd like to salute Mark Rogondino and Jim Watson, who treated us to this paraphrased-but-not-by-much inadvertently-backhanded tribute to Columbus supporters:
I realize it's not the Done Thing these days to remark about the Beckham Effect, but can I at least take issue with Ohio State playing down the road that afternoon? TOSU were in freaking Madison that day.
(Actually, if the Crew did want or need to take on Ohio State head to head, a Beckham game wouldn't be a bad idea. But, presumably controlling CC Stadium means they don't need to try such a stunt, so they don't.)
I'm not going to complain about Mark and Jim yammering about golf all the time, though, because it's not like there's anything fun about the Galaxy to talk about. (I really ought to stop.)
Speaking of the Crew...so when I was talking up Landon for MVP, I was sort of thinking he'd come up big down the stretch. Sigi pulling GBS off the field, as if to say "We don't need our best player to beat you"...yeah, that's what my close, personal friend Grandmaster Flash would call a "message."
*Cheap, I know. If Vanney wants to be bitter about his career, well, he gets a bit of a pass. He was the first replacement for Chris Armas in 2002, until he himself got injured and missed the high point in US soccer history. Vanney isn't even famous for missing out, like Armas is. He would have played very well, too. If American soccer players ever have a hard-luck contest, he's definitely in the final table with Armas, Ramos and Olsen.